My 5 Year Old Killed My Minivan…

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My twins have started Kindergarten and that’s a whole new ball of fun. The kids are wired, tired, and fired (up).

We had a three day weekend with Labor Day, then the next school day was Tyler’s annual hemophilia appointment, and we had to pick him up from school half way through the day. While we vowed to never, ever, ever, ever, not never, never, ever bring Andy to another one of those 3+ hour long appointments again, we had to this time because he threw the most epic of all hissy fits when finding out Tyler was going to get out of school early.

So we broke our never, ever, ever, ever, not never, never, ever rule and regretted it.  It was hard not to get all gritchy with him as he answered all the questions meant for Tyler , while jumping around and screeching he likes cheese, because it’s boring for everyone. Especially for Andy who does not have hemophilia and was ripped away from the awesome iPads in the waiting room of Akron Children’s.  Finally it was over, and we went home to a decent night.

Then Wednesday came.

Three days off from school, then leaving after 2 hours on Tuesday must have made Wednesday the LONGEST, most UPSETTING day of their ENTIRE lives. As SOON as I picked them up from school, they were crabby, bickering, and yelling, and that was just on the way to the car.

Because we’re in a parking lot, I want both kids to get in the same side. Unfortunately, it’s Tyler’s side of the car, and my little Napoleon HATES when someone treads on his space. He had a meltdown and wouldn’t let Andy cross to the other side without some kicks and yelling.

Gritting my teeth, I say: “Aww, I MISSED you guys!”

(I think they are starting to recognize sarcasm.)

So we go home, and Andy starts yelling: “I want that white stuff to eat.”

Me: “Um, what stuff?”

Andy (starting to get that melt downy look and tone): “That WHITE stuff with the apples!!”

Me (still not connecting the dots because he was just talking about Ninja Turtles): “What are you talking about?”

Andy (kicking and screaming): “Ohhh, you never know what I’m talking about! That white apples and candy!”

Me: “Ok, stop screaming at me! Are you talking about the apple surprise dessert?”

Andy: “YES. I WANT it NOW.”

Me (tongue bleeding, jaw clenched): “Sweetie, Mommy doesn’t just have whipped cream, Snickers bars, and apples lying around the house for that dessert.”  (But I should, it’s so good)

Andy: “AHHHHHHHH!”

Ok, how long have we been together now? 10 minutes and I’m ready for a break already! I get everything out of the car, except Andy who is not coming.  Fine, they have played in my car before, he will come in eventually.

He finally comes in 10 minutes later crying and snuffling. Obviously, they were tired and hungry, so I left it at that.

This morning, I cannot find my keys anywhere. I always put them in my purse, on the key rack, or just lately (copying the husband) keep them in the car. You probably know where this is going…

I look everywhere for those keys. We need to leave in 3.5 minutes to get to school in time. I opened the doors to my minivan and notice the automatic door isn’t working (someone probably pushed the “off” button again”. Then the hatch wouldn’t open (dangit, someone locked the doors again), and I noticed my security light wasn’t on (grr, probably blew a fuse).  Andy suddenly yells: “Oh there’s your keys!”

They were in the ignition.

I never leave them in the ignition.

Ever.

I fiddled and noticed the key was turned as far as it could go without turning on the car. I pushed it that extra bit and nothing. Dead, dead, dead.

“ANDY! WHAT DID YOU DO?”

Andy slinks into his carseat. “I didn’t put the key in there and turn it!”

Me: “I never said that’s what happened! Did you do this? Are you allowed to touch my keys?”

Andy: “No, it was probably Tyler.”

Tyler (looking completely confused): “What? Wait a minnit! I did nothing! I’m a good boy. I don’t touch my Mommy’s keys!”

Sigh. Luckily my oldest hadn’t gone to work yet and I was able to throw the twins into the car and take them to school.

On the way, Andy says: “So who did that with your keys might  have been ’cause they was mad and wanted to drive away.”

Me: “So it was you?”

Andy: “Um…well no, I’m just sayin’…but I will tell that key person not to do that ever again.”

Tyler: “Better tell him now, Mommy’s face is gonna ‘splode.”

Lesson learned: Never leave the keys in the car, and keep 5 eyes on Andy at all times.

I’m Leaving on a Train Car…

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I want to start off by saying I love my kids.

I do, I do, I do.

But they drive me CRAZY!!!!

I know I’m not alone in this. I’m pretty positive every single parent, at one time or another, has envisioned running away from home holding a plaid knapsack on a stick containing a few PB&J’s while whistling a merry tune as you find a nice train car to jump into and go far, far away.

Or do what I do and hide in a corner, suck on a thumb and rock myself.

I was a teacher. I took child psychology classes, learning development classes, I knew all the stages of anal, oral, and whatever else Freud liked to talk about, so you would think when my child is freaking out about something I would remember it was normal.

It’s so hard to remember that when they are screaming at the top of their high pitched lungs and telling you they hate you because their apple isn’t as red as their brothers.

(That was last night)

My oldest is 18 and is easy at this point, but he still has no idea how to clean up after himself. He can create mods on his computer games, and defeat any enemy he wants, but the concept of bringing dirty dishes to the sink escapes him.

My 5 year olds, well, they are another story. Every minute is full of wonder, such as: “I wonder who is going to have a meltdown next?”

The Terrible Twos and Threes are nothing compared to the Terrible Fives.  I find myself correcting more during the day than cuddling, and constantly trying to see into the future to know what may or may not cause a tantrum.

Eggshells. Lots and lots of eggshells.

One of the twins said they hated me last night because I wouldn’t give them a sucker with their dinner. I have never given them a sucker with dinner, but they decided it was to be, and when I nicely refused, it caused a serious row and I was flabbergasted. I’m often flabbergasted.

One of the twins has a broken arm and decided he wanted to wear long sleeved pajamas to bed. I said that wasn’t a good idea because a) the cast doesn’t fit into the arm easily, and b) it was 85 DEGREES.

Well, that made him more determined to prove that I was wrong and he proceeded to fit that cast into the sleeve one millimeter at a time. He was getting red faced and mad and kicking and screaming, and it took him 10 minutes to put on the shirt while I watched, defeated.

But he showed me.

They also like to lie, now, which is awesome. I will say: “No, we are not going to the McDonald’s play area, it’s 9PM!” and they will say: “You’re mean. You said I’m a stupid boy and you hate me!”

WHAT?? NO I DIDN’T! “Yes, you did, you said you don’t love me any more and that I’m just a stupid head.”

<facepalm>

I’m exhausted from all the work my brain has to do to deal with them sometimes. Yelling doesn’t do anything but make everyone more frenzied, but sometimes being calm makes them think their behavior is ok. Forcing them to say they’re sorry when they aren’t, or don’t even understand why they should be sorry, is difficult, as does knowing which battle to fight or give up on.

Every generation goes through this, and I think it’s because we aren’t given enough insight into what children go through in their little brains. They are testing the waters, seeing what they can do, not realizing they are slowly sending their parents into mental zombie land.

There should be a pamphlet that is sent to us on their birthdays so we know what we’re in for the next year. Things like: “Five year olds often have no clue what the heck they really want, and reverse psychology works amazingly well at this age. They will also think they need everything they see on every commercial, especially the “As Seen on TV” ones.” (Thanks, Snackeez)

I also think there should be hotlines for each year of age and when the kids start going nutso, we can call the 1-800-5yrolds for advice.

Operator: “Hello, this is the 5 year old hotline, how can I help you?”

Me: “Um, hi there, my 5 year old won’t come downstairs because I refuse to carry his blankie for him.”

Operator: “Do you have a plaid knapsack on a stick?”

Me: “Why, yes I do.”

Operator: “Fill it up with sandwiches and find yourself a train car.”

 

Cross THAT Off the Bucket List

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I’ve been playing musical instruments since 4th grade, starting when my mom brought me back a little silver fife from Williamsburg, Virginia. I played it for hours. My brother Sean, a first grader at the time, tried to play his but he couldn’t and said it was “stupid” and “girly” and then I had two fifes.

(He would later go on to be a fantastic trumpet player that could hit the highest of high F’s after not playing for a year, but gave that up for FOOTBALL…)

I played flute in 5th grade, then Mom then dusted off her clarinet and I started playing that in 7th. I couldn’t stop practicing, I loved it so much. I would tape myself on a cassette recorder (for the youngins, it was something we old-timers used to record music with) playing one part, then rewind and have a duet with myself.

Good times.

I played all through high school, then packed the clarinet away before leaving for my freshman year at Kent State where I was majoring in elementary education.

That year, I was MISERABLE without playing.  After 6 + years of playing my clarinet, I missed it, but what could I do? I was too shy and figured everyone at the music building were Juilliard caliber players.

Then it happened.

I heard the soundtrack to “The Little Mermaid” and decided right then and there to change my major to music. I went home, got the clarinet, and practiced in the dead of night at the music building so none of the music majors could hear me in case I sucked real bad.

I auditioned, made it into the school and got a scholarship to boot. I was so excited to change majors.

I met my best friend, Diane, the 2nd day of my sophomore year, the fall of 1991. I walked into the band room, and had NO clue where to sit. You have no idea how terrifying that is…everyone knew everyone, and I was freaking out that I would accidentally sit in the flute section, the HORROR.

Thankfully, Diane recognized me from our clarinet class the day before, and yelled: “Hey, come sit by me!” I loved her that moment, and 24 years later we are still best friends.

In college, I played clarinet, then became the Eb clarinet player (it’s like a piccolo clarinet) for the school. At least I played it for most of the pieces, unless a greedy clarinet grad student took my part because there was a great solo in it. BUT I’M NOT BITTER.

I’m still bitter. 

With all the opportunities,  I wasn’t satisfied with just playing clarinet, I needed to play everything I could get my hands on. Luckily I was indulged greatly by the music faculty, and during my years as a music major I played: piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute, oboe, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, Bass clarinet, contra-bass clarinet, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, and accompanied soloists on the piano.  I was the person that played what no one else wanted to.

One thing I really wanted to do, though, was direct sing. I thought I had a decent voice, but was so unsure of it that I botched all of my singing auditions in high school. One time, I pretended to have a cold when auditioning for “My Fair Lady” and ended up getting the role of a MAN with 3 lines.  My singing was then limited to a few karaoke sessions at dive bars but only after a few wine coolers.

Hardcore.

I eventually sang in church for a few years, but was always uncomfortable. I decided that one day, I would find the opportunity to sing with a band and belt out something before I die.

Then the community band director mentioned needing a vocalist for “Blue Moon.” In a rare moment of “OMG I WANT IT, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEMME HAVE IT!” I asked if I could audition right there. He looked startled and had an “oh-crap-what-if-she-sucks-then-I’ll-have-to-figure-out-how-to-say-no” face, but he let me, and next thing I know, I’m in.

I made it!

So the concert was June 20th, and I got up on stage in a middle school auditorium and sang my heart out. I was not even a little bit nervous, and I’m not sure why. Before a clarinet recital in college I would be ready to hurl 3 seconds before going on stage then break into uncontrollable yawning.

Not this time. I had a lot of friends and family come to see me. The best parts were my husband waving to me like a goober from the very back of the room, my twins yelling: “That’s my mommy!”, and my own mommy beaming at me from a few rows from the front. (She told everyone afterwards: “This is my BABY!”)

Scratch that off the bucket list.

I need to get started on my other items, such as finishing my novel and making millions of dollars, meeting Jon Stewart, and getting my 5 year olds to wipe their butts consistently.

That last one is going to be a doozy!

Try to Argue with 4 Year Old Logic…

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My 4 year old twins are hysterical. The stuff they come up with makes me laugh so hard, it hurts. One reason I became a teacher for the elementary grades is because the younger students are (mostly) innocent and look at the world from a different perspective. The way they try to make sense of things is so beautiful and they often have a logic that would make Mr. Spock (R.I.P.!) crack a smile.

Last night, the kids went to bed a little late. The husband and I were pretty tired and just ready for them to sleep. Andy has a cold and REFUSES to use tissues (gag) and his eyeballs were the size of basketballs. He NEEDED to sleep. We told them they needed to be quiet. No talking. Just go to sleep.

We weren’t downstairs for more than 3.5 minutes when we heard thumping, and giggling, and loud talking. The Twinion Conspirators are at it again.

“Wuke, I am you fodder!”

“Noooooooo, don’t cut my hand off, fodder! AHHHHHHH!”

“I have to! It was in da movie.”

“Nooooooooooo!”

I race upstairs, and open the door. They do that thing that must be instinctual for little kids where they flop down on the bed and instantly play dead, like I didn’t see them just jumping around like loons.

“Boys, didn’t we say you needed to be quiet? Tyler, Andy is sick, he needs rest. You are so loud, we can’t even hear the TV!”

Andy won’t stop giggling, probably from the Zyrtec and Nighttime Dr. Cocoa medicine combo.

Tyler looks at me, dead serious: “Mommy, you said we couldn’t talk, but our toys need to, so that’s why we’re talking so wowd. They need to play, not us!”

I’m dumbfounded and impressed. He was right, we didn’t say the toys couldn’t talk.

“Um, ok, well can Luke and Darth Vader keep it down?”

More Andy giggles.

Tyler sighs a deep, why-do-I-put-up-with-her? sigh and says: “We will try, my princess mommy. Dark Vader IS evil you know, and wikes to get us in trouble.”

I wish I were a celebrity so camera crews could follow these two around and capture all of these moments. Then I would make a documentary and show it to every girlfriend.

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I Gave Birth to a Sensitive Skeleton-Loving Scientist

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So I am the lucky mom of 3 boys, a ginger, a blonde, and a “might be dark-blonde-might be brown” brunette. All three are left-handed.

I am right-handed, and completely useless when it comes to teaching them how to write, eat, draw, throw, and generally anything that involves the left side. Luckily, my husband is left-handed, so when they go to Kindergarten, he can do all their homework with them.

HAHAHAHA

So out of my three boys, Tyler, the younger twin, is probably going to be a scientist, engineer, doctor, or Destroyer of the Universe. I’m ok with any of those scenarios.

I was a teacher for many years, and between teaching in the classroom and music lessons, I’ve had students from ages 3 to 55, and I’m not sure I’ve ever met a young one more interested in how things work. He LOVES to take things apart, put them back together, take them apart, put them back together, ad nauseum.

He’s like my husband in this respect, except (as far as I know) my husband doesn’t fall to the floor wailing, screaming, and kicking if he can’t figure out how to put a lid back on, or is unable to squeeze a 9 inch Batman toy into a 3 inch helicopter cockpit.

The anger. Ohhhh, the anger.

When he was little, he used to bang his head on the floor repeatedly when something didn’t go his way. It would be scary to see for any child, but he has hemophilia, and the lumps he would cause himself to get would make him look like a rhino. It’s really hard to convince people that your two-year old did that to himself, and you’re not an abusive monster.

On top of that, it looked like I beat him and not his twin. I probably should have put prosthetic horns on the other so they would match. They ARE twins, after all.

As serious as this child is, he has the sweetest smile, and at almost 5 years old just made it to 30 pounds. His nickname is “Teeny Tiny Tyler” which he thinks is funny. He was tiny when he was born and the NICU nurses ironically nicknamed him “Mr. T” which has been his usual name ever since.

He looks up to his “older” twin at the same time he tortures him. Andy has taken to writing Tyler’s name on a “bad list” whenever he gets mad, and Tyler sobs uncontrollably when this happens. He won’t believe me that Andy actually has no power over lists, but there it is.

He is amazing in so many ways. His giggle could make Ebenezer Scrooge crack a smile. His excitement for simple things from a sip of strawberry milk, or an oatmeal pie is contagious. When he’s sick, he doesn’t complain, he just thanks us for taking care of him then orders us out of the room so he can sleep.

He bruises easily and they can become quite ugly, but he doesn’t complain about pain. His brother, Andy, on the other hand, needs a band-aid for everything (one time for a paint stain he insisted was blood). He is a rule follower, likes things to be a certain way, and knows instantly if I took a different road to our destination.

His arms and legs flail when he runs, and it’s amazing he has any balance whatsoever. He loves watching Goosebumps, ParaNorman, and other “scary” shows, and absolutely loves to play with his dad’s Halloween decorations. So much that even in March we have a plastic witch, pumpkin, and a skeleton toy that’s as big as he is that he carries around and takes to bed with him.

Right now he is moping around the house because he broke the arm of his “skellington”…my husband is sad too seeing as how he’s had that thing for about 25 years.

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I want to hold and hug and protect this little tiny thing all the time, but he’s way too macho for those kind of shenanigans. He does tell me I’m the “best girl ever”, so that’s definitely enough for me.

I’m lucky to have the crazy kids I do, even though they drive me nuts.

Face it, they are a product of their environment, and I might just be certifiable.

Ready for a nap at 8 a.m!

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Question for the day:  why do you usually only drool during a nap?   In my forty years of sleeping, I can count the number of times I’ve woken up at night drowning in a drool puddle on one hand…ok, maybe two hands, half a foot, plus a quarter of a toe.  According to my husband, I drool enough to bathe a small town nightly, but have not seen evidence to prove this.

During naps, though, I’d believe him.  He, however, wins the gigantic Flavor Flav clock of nap time drool (crowns are too bulky), and oddly enough, it’s always on MY pillow. He says it’s because my pillows are nicer…uh huh.  But if we’re going to talk about drool, the two-year olds win the prize.  Just yesterday, even though it was 175 degrees in Northeast Ohio, the kids’ room was a cool 74, so I know the huge puddles of wet wasn’t sweat.  The telltale line from their sweet little rosebud mouths to the huge growing wet spot on their sheets was a giveaway.

I just closed my eyes for a second while I was sitting here at my breakfast nook, watching my koi outside slowly boil into my dinner this hot Ohio morning, and as I jerked awake, I admit, there was drool.  It’s amazing, it could only have been for ten seconds, yet the spitometer is ready and raring to go.  Why am I tired?  It’s only 8 a.m!

I get up with my husband, he doesn’t understand it.  He thinks I’m certifiable for not sleeping in a bit longer.  Why get up at 6:30 a.m. when I can sleep until 8 or even 8:30?  Well, for one thing, the twins rarely sleep that long where I can sleep in peace, his waking up still means I’m up a bit, so I can’t go back to sleep that well anyway, PLUS, I really, really, really don’t like to be woken up by screams of children over a monitor.  I also get a ton of stuff done between getting us up and the kids up.

Give or take a few things but my today is pretty typical: got up, made the bed, packed my husband’s lunch, made him some breakfast on the go, coffee, saw him off, watered the plants and the greenhouse things that we really need to re-pot or we’re going to have a Little Shop of Horrors thing going on soon, cleaned the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher, did the laundry, folded last night’s laundry I forget about in the dryer, fed the fish, straightened up the bedroom, bathroom, and family room, made me some pop in my SodaStream Soda maker (I love that thing), worked on some reports on a website I moderate on, checked my email, wrote a few checks, typed a document for my husband, wrote this, got the kids’ breakfast ready, and am on the way to get the kids up.  All in what is now an hour and fifteen minutes.

If I tried to do all that when they were up, it would take me about seventeen and a half hours.  I also clean up as I go all day long, because not doing that gives me the hives.  When I leave to go somewhere for a little bit and my husband hangs with the kids, he gets a kick out of leaving the aftermath for me to see. I get a sheepish look when I walk in the door along with a: “Hi honey, something exploded in the family room!”  then he runs away laughing.  It is pretty funny that they get out every. single. toy when he’s alone with them.  Hmm, I might need a nanny-cam to see who’s really playing with all those toys.

My kids are doing jumping jacks upstairs in their cribs, it sounds like the ceiling might come down, and I’m ready for a nap.  All my work this morning is going to be ruined in a few minutes.  But if my one twin calls me “mommeeee” this morning like he has been lately, it’s all worth it.  But even if he doesn’t, I’m going to get that: “MOMMA!”  I get when I walk in the door to get them. It’s nice.  Makes me feel like a celebrity.  I don’t mind being the most popular woman in my home, drool and all.

Oh, did I mention I had to change the sheets last night because one of the twins peed on my side of the bed while watching Elmo and it soaked all the way down to the mattress?  I didn’t notice until we went to bed last night. Gross.  My husband said it was because MY side is nicer…

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